Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrity dish … Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill, spice wizard, author and proprietor of Herbie’s Spices

If you are passionate about what you cook and serve your friends and family, you’ll be very familiar with Herbie’s Spices. If you live in Sydney you’ve certainly been to Herbie’s delightful shop in Rozelle. And if you don’t live in Sydney, you are probably glad that his herbs and spices are stocked at your local gourmet deli or food store and also available mail order via his website.

Ian is Australia’s leading authority on herbs and spices. He produces hundreds of spices, herbs, extracts, pastes and blends as well as books and dvds.

Speaking of books, Herbie and I have co-written a book, Just Add Spice (Penguin) which is being launched this week! Just Add Spice contains 100 recipes to show you how to expand your repertoire and spice up simple dishes using enticing herbs and spices, all with wine matching notes. This book also debunks the myth that it is difficult to match wine with spiced food.

Just Add Spice is available in bookshops and department stores now for $49.95.

Here are Herbie’s answers:

What is your earliest food memory: My mother making a cake when I was about three. I clearly remember hearing the mixmaster going when I was down in the orchard with my father. Mum says she still remembers my determined walk through the front paddock to get to the house so I could lick the bowl.

What is the strangest meal you’ve ever been served: In Jakarta I was served what looked like a large black prawn crisp. When I had eaten about half of it and asked what it was, my host said “lung” to which I replied “he must have been a heavy smoker.”

What is your signature dish: It would have to be my Saturday Curry, something I make almost weekly.

What is your favourite cookbook: There are so any really great cookbooks that it is almost impossible to name just one. However the one that has influenced me most is Hemphill’s Herbs & Spices – their cultivation and usage written by my parents John & Rosemary Hemphill in the 1960s

What do you never eat: Tripe, I can’t stand the smell of when it’s cooking

What are the five ingredients you would take to a desert island: coriander seed, cumin seed, cardamom seed, beef and rice

What are you having for dinner tonight: Murray Valley Pork fillets rubbed with Pork Spice, pan-fried and finished in the oven, served with mash and Asian greens.

Thanks Herbie

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